Vettel claims tenth pole position of 2011 at Monza

2011 Italian GP qualifying

Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Monza, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Monza, 2011

Sebastian Vettel gave Red Bull their first pole position at Monza and continued their domination of qualifying in 2011.

The two McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button start behind him, while Fernando Alonso claimed fourth for Ferrari.

Mark Webber and Felipe Massa share the third row.


Pastor Maldonado had a setback early in qualifying when he spun at the exit of Parabolica. He lost control of the car as he opened his DRS and the Williams knocked the barrier at the inside of the corner, damaging its front wing.

The team inspected the damage, replaced the wing and sent Maldonado out again. He duly made it through into Q2.

His team mate briefly looked as though he wasn’t going to make it through to the next part of qualifying. But a late improvement from Rubens Barrichello meant it was Jaime Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso who failed to progress beyond Q1.

The usual six cars were behind him, with Daniel Ricciardo out-qualifying Vitantonio Liuzzi despite having missed much of second and third practice.

Timo Glock, meanwhile, had a dramatic moment when his DRS did not close properly. He avoided a crassh and was inspecting his rear wing in the pits after the session ended.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’25.334
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’26.647
20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’27.184
21 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’27.591
22 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’27.609
23 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1’28.054
24 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’28.231


As the session began McLaren told Hamilton he would need to do a 1’23.8 to get a place in Q2.

He managed a 1’23.740 on medium tyres while the other front runners did their times on softs. But despite having beaten the target time he felt he couldn’t risk setting a quicker lap on soft tyres.

He duly set a 1’23.172 on softs to take third behind Vettel and Button. But Vitaly Petrov, who had been one-thousandth of a second slower than Hamilton, did not go out again and secured his passage to Q3.

Team mate Bruno Senna joined him with his final lap of the session. A 1’24.157, aided by a tow from Hamilton, put him tenth and knocked out Paul di Resta.

Di Resta joined his team mate plus both Williams and Sauber drivers and Sebastien Buemi in elimination.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’24.183
12 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’24.209
13 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’24.648
14 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’24.726
15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’24.845
16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’24.932
17 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’25.065


The Ferraris led the cars out at the start of Q3 and Fernando Alonso briefly headed the times.

But within a few moments he was demoted first by Button and then Vettel. Vettel went straight into a second lap where he looked set to go faster, before a ragged moment at the exit of Lesmo 2 and a dramatic slide through Ascari.

Alonso made it up to fourth with his last effort, using a tow from his team mate to pick up speed in the first sector.

Neither McLaren driver improved their times with their final run, Hamilton losing time at the della Roggia and aborting his run, Button quitting into the pits at the end of his lap.

With Webber, whose KERS was only working intermittently, unable to better fifth place there was no need for Vettel to improve his time. But he did anyway: a flying lap of 1’22.275 put him almost half a second clear of Hamilton.

Michael Schumacher out-qualified Nico Rosberg, the latter choosing to qualify on medium tyres. Bruno Senna, meanwhile, did not set a time.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’22.275
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’22.725
3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’22.777
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’22.841
5 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’22.972
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’23.188
7 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’23.530
8 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’23.777
9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’24.477
10 Bruno Senna Renault

2011 Italian Grand Prix

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193 comments on Vettel claims tenth pole position of 2011 at Monza

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  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 10th September 2011, 14:13

    I don’t know how he does it, but the more pressure you pile on Vettel, and the faster he seems to go.

    • Exactly, the speed that he attacked Ascari with was ridiculous.

    • yes.. He is getting better and better. More confident each race.

    • panache said on 10th September 2011, 15:56

      Credit where it’s due, he’s really been sensational this year and with the exception of the final lap in Canada has not made a single mistake when it mattered as far as I am aware.

      The most daunting thing is the relentless rate at which he is improving every facet of his driving.

    • I cant’t see Vettel being under pressure given the huge lead he has in the points table.

      • @ Klaas

        Precisely, people can be spurred on if they have nothing left to lose, but in Vettel’s case he has nothing to lose because he can literally afford to have a few duff races or DNFs and still be ahead.

        It means he has huge weight lifted off his shoulders because he knows his performance in a single race will not be crucial. IMO, he’s under less pressure, not more.

        Also, you only need to look around the paddock and listen to the other drivers to realise that, in their heart of hearts, they’ve already given up on this year and have conceded that Vettel will be champion. That’s sure to be a huge confidence boost to Vettel.

      • dkfektor said on 10th September 2011, 17:07

        which he has achieved in a high pressure world class motor sport where consistent speed is what puts you above others.

    • rick2k9 (@rick2k9) said on 10th September 2011, 17:33

      I’m really not sure why people continue to be surprised when Vettel takes pole. Webber’s clearly having an off year so Seb’s other competitors have cars that are at least half a second slower in quali. There were times this year where that hasn’t been the case but only when Red Bull had to compromise their quali set up in favour of race pace. Everyone keeps talking about giving credit where it’s due and yet they really only give it to Seb. I’ll agree he’s done a great job, but to me the credit really should go to the team for giving him such a quick and reliable car. The job of driving the car is made much much easier when the car is so much faster than the rest.

      • yes I agreed….credit should be to the team….not the driver,coz without the team effort….he wont have fast car to drive!!

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 10th September 2011, 18:16

        The car hasn’t always been so dominant as you think. Often it’s Vettel making it look dominant (like today).

        • rick2k9 (@rick2k9) said on 10th September 2011, 21:18

          All a driver can do is extract the most out of a car, which Seb has done well, but I think it would be a bit much to assume the half a second difference we see in quali race after race is down to him being half a second faster than Lewis, Fernando, etc…It’s down to the car. Seb is doing a fine job, but the difference we’re seeing is down to the car. I really don’t think you can argue that Fernando, Felipe, Lewis and Jenson are all driving poorly and just not extracting that extra half a second out of their cars. You could argue this about Mark as he has the same equipment..but not about the rest.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 11th September 2011, 1:03

            There have been times this and last year where the gaps have clearly been down to the car, like Australia this year. However, you should remember that in Hungary this year, Mclaren were expected after practice to beat Red Bull to pole, but failed thanks to Lewis making errors on his lap (and Button being slower than Hamilton). Today, the MP4-26 was not half a second down on the RB7 as the final result suggests- he was under 2 tenths down after his first run, and made a mistake on his second. Button’s time would have been closer to Vettel’s had he not aborted his lap.

            On the other hand, it is more valid to claim that the gap to Alonso is down to the car (moreso than the Mclaren drivers anyway), as there hasn’t been a weekend apart from Canada where the Ferrari has got particularly close to pole.

    • Franton said on 10th September 2011, 21:11

      Considering he always does his fastest lap as the last man on the track, i’d say track evolution from the tyres plays a big part.

  2. I think Q1 was the most exciting…

    Why on earth did they put Rosberg on softs?
    It seems an incomprehensible decision at the one track they actually had pace at.

    • You mean hards?
      I wonder if Rosberg is thinking about Spa, how Schumacher beat him from starting last on the grid, on hard tyres.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 10th September 2011, 14:24

      Strategy. Like Martin Brundle said: if you’re the last man to pit, you’ll win the race. More than any other venue, you have to reverse engineer your strategy at Monza. You have to decide where you want to be on the road at the final stop and go from there. Mercedes knew they couldn’t fight with the others (though I suspect they might have liked to be in front of Vitaly Petrov), so they bolted on the harder tyres to get that phase of the race out of the way.

  3. Why did Button pit at the end – he was faster than Vettel’s first pole lap on his way into Parabollica?

    • Because Lewis had made a mistake (lockup). I guess team told Button to pit so that Lewis would stay in front of him.

    • I think the bull was much faster through parabolica so he knew it wouldn’t be enough. He should have beaten Hamilton’s time though so may have also made a small mistake

    • panache said on 10th September 2011, 14:27

      I started shouting at the screen when I saw him pull off into the pits and assumed he MUST have made a big mistake in the last corner.

      Even if he did make a mistake it would have to be one which cost him around 6 tenths in order to justify pitting, as he was over a tenth up on pole and Vettel was 5 tenths ahead of Hamilton.

      I’m fuming to be honest. Really thought it was going to be a sensational pole for Jenson here today.

      Still, all bodes well for the race tomorrow and I hope that for once we get to see a straight up fight across an entire race distance between the two Mclaren drivers.

    • Kyle (@hammerheadgb) said on 10th September 2011, 14:27

      I’m speculating here, but although he was clear of Vettel’s 1m22.613 by around 0.2 at the 2nd timing beam, he may not actually have been up on his own previous sectors. Apparently McLaren are giving away nearly 0.5s to Vettel in the 3rd sector, adjusting the margins for this would leave Button +0.3 on Vettel’s first time and +0.15 on his own best (1m22.777).

      In other words, Button needed a T2 margin of -0.4 to be looking on for beating his own previous time. He only had -0.18.

      • panache said on 10th September 2011, 14:35

        Very good point.

        Also not sure if I made an error in my post above regarding the gap from Vettel to Hamilton, had Vettel set his fastest lap of the session at that time?

      • dkfektor said on 10th September 2011, 15:06

        no, he he going faster then his previous lap, he would have finished about 3 tenths behind vettel, ande .15 seconds ahead of hamilton (and hamilton probably would have gained .2 of a second in final run to retain 2nd if he hadnt made mistakes). so it looks like mclaren wanted hamilton in p2 and called button in.

        • Kyle (@hammerheadgb) said on 10th September 2011, 16:57

          The time that appears on the graphics is his sector time versus Vettel’s, not versus his own.

          If we assume he will drop 0.5 in the final sector as both McLarens have been doing, he will be 0.3 slower than Vettel’s *first* run (Button was 0.15 slower than that on his first run).

    • I believe its because he could see that he wasn’t going to beat the time vettel was currently setting and that he wanted to stay on the clean side of the grid in 3rd as opposed to the dirty side in 2nd.

      • @ Watty,

        Although he seemed to have reservations about being 3rd, on this track, in the press conference. Saying it would be difficult to get past Hamilton / Vettel if they were side by side at the start.

    • RumFRESH (@rumfresh) said on 10th September 2011, 17:34

      The McLarens were losing a significant amount of time in the third sector to the Red Bulls. Button probably noticed this on the delta display of his steering wheel and called it quits to save the tires.

    • ob1kenobi.23 (@ob1kenobi23) said on 10th September 2011, 23:22

      He said at the interview that as he came through the Parabolica he could see from his readout that he was’nt going to improve his position.

  4. It’s Christmas time !!!!!!!!

  5. I think the race will be interesting though. I reckon one of the McLarens or Alonso will win.

  6. How can u say Alonso took 4th by the tow of Massa. He was quite far behind him on both the runs.

    • The tow takes effect from quite a long way back at those speeds.

    • It’s close enough apparently.

      If Ferrari weren’t trying to give Alonso a tow they wouldn’t have put their cars so close on the track.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 10th September 2011, 14:22

      Five years ago, towing Felipe Massa would have got him penalised.

      • dkfektor said on 10th September 2011, 15:38

        like when alonso(in renault) got penalised for towing massa, the FIA wanted schumacher to win the championship so decided that alonso was blocking massa, even though he was 100 meters in front of him, likely giving him an advantage, not blocking.

  7. WHY did JB back out his last lap? He was 0,151 sec faster then current Vettel time.He could at list be for sure in front of LH.

  8. Yes, it did surprised, McLaren-Mercedes is more in to positive side then Red Bull-Renault. Tomorrow things will change when the track temperature will rise above 50.

  9. I feel like RedBulls give everything to make Vettel’s car competitive instead of working on both drivers cars.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th September 2011, 14:26

      I think some people will say anything to diminish Vettel’s achievements.

      I see no reason to believe Red Bull aren’t giving Webber a competitive car and I doubt he’d stay quiet if that was the case.

      • He have to stay quiet if he wants to drive next year :P

      • Sergio Perez said on 10th September 2011, 14:34

        I agree. Vettel has just been on an incredible form. Definitely deserved this pole.

      • Law of attraction. Vettel is full of confidence, and even if conditions are not so favourable, he still manages to find that little extra. He is enjoying every lap in that car, and its all coming to him. Nothing is going to dent his confidence this season, he has the WDC in the bag. We will have to wait till next season to see if he has a less competitive car.

      • UKfanatic (@) said on 10th September 2011, 15:58

        sorry to disagree Keith but everyone knows that Vettel says he likes to have oversteer whereareas Webber the opposite, I remember last season Vettel complaining that the car wasnt developing to his liking, problem that was quickly resolved with redbull going back into the developing of the car to give Seb what he wanted. I have still to admit that despite the Teams preference, Vettel is driving on the limit, the way he sets the car up is amazing he always seems to get it right, in Belgium here at Monza he puts alot of toe in and negative camber and still can drive his car with consistency which is remarkable.

      • Novotny said on 10th September 2011, 16:33

        I have this theory that it is Webber’s size that is limiting their ability to cool his kers system – wasn’t the car designed without kers in mind? I’m guessing that they find it easier to squeeze the batteries into Vettel’s wagon.

        Does anyone else think this might be true?

        • Franton said on 10th September 2011, 20:31

          Hardly since the KERS batteries are stuffed in a box underneath the gearbox at the back of the car.

          • Novotny said on 10th September 2011, 22:02

            Thanks for the illumination. So why does Webber’s car break more often than Vettel’s?

          • Why does the pope **** in the woods?

            Check out last year, Vettel had horrid reliability and Webber’s was great.

      • I had been Redbull’s fas because theway David Coultard and Adrian Newey built the team…and then Webber and Newey!!I guess…I just go back to my old team,which is Mclaren. I am Prost,Hakinnen and Coulthard long time fans

      • I am getting a feeling that Vettel is kind of becoming Jimmie Johnson of NASCAR. Though jimmie keeps winning nobody talks much about him as a great driver and all those stuff.

        Just give the kid a lillte credit for what he is doing. I agree red bull is the best car on the grid but he is doing better with it than webber.

        All said though he is criticized as having no racing talent all the team bosses want him to drive for their team. That might just say something.

      • I have no intention of diminishing Vettels achievements but I do feel that Mark has been given the job of racing-safe with conservative set-ups that cover most scenarios to ensure steady points accumulation, rather than rolling the dice for a win or fail setup. This weekend is a good example of Red Bull betting the farm on a high downforce setup for Vettel and setting Webber up in the midrange. So far Vettel has risen to challenge brilliantly and Mark, despite some reliability issues, has provided the team with good solid backup points.

    • It’s very likely Vettel gets more attention in that department, he’s been delivering more and more consistently.

      He might also simply be better at developing the car to begin with, improving it either way, obviously with a bias towards his own preference. It’s something all of the great drivers (apparently) share.

      Either way, not giving Vettel the best possible car seems stupid at this point. I don’t think there is much more he could have done to settle without a doubt why the team should.

      • Well, that’s not the case at Mclaren, both drivers have same cars, they compete with each other on the track, unlike Ferrari and RedBull

        • Since when do the Red Bull or Ferrari drivers have different cars? At first I thought you were suggesting that same car might be more developed along the feedback of one of either drivers, not that they design separate cars for both…

          Unless you’re referring to engine strategy, which is just that, it’ll benefit Webber later in the season.

        • McLaren’s drivers are very close, there would be no point in showing any type of preference.
          Vettel has only finished behind Mark ONCE this season and we can even include the last 6 races or something of 2010. If that isn’t enough to make him the clear team leader i don’t know what is.

          • David BR said on 10th September 2011, 15:07

            I think that’s point. Webber has failed to mount any kind of challenge to Vettel since the last third of last season. He’s just totally outclassed by Vettel’s talent. No issue. It would be more interesting for the championship if Red Bull had someone closer to Vettel, but – being honest – they don’t need another good driver. Vettel delivers. His record this year is spectacular.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 10th September 2011, 14:47

          At Mclaren, Hamilton is failing to convicingly beat his teammate. Vettel and Alonso have established themselves as better drivers than Webber and Massa.

          • David BR said on 10th September 2011, 15:13

            Button is better than both Webber and Massa. But even so you’re right that Hamilton has failed to put a clear distance between himself and Button, and that’s due to a lack of interest in perfecting other aspects of his racing (better decision making, more investment in understanding the car and technical issues). His choice, but he can’t complain if other drivers like Vettel develop themselves into more complete racers – like Schumacher and Alonso – and consistently beat him in the percentages. Hamilton has the talent, but F1 careers are short and if he wants to achieve more he has to concentrate and drop the celeb junk and get real. If he wants.

          • David BR,

            So, because Webber and Massa are consistently slower than their teammates, and Button isn’t, therefore Button is better than Webber and Massa.

            Strange logics.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 10th September 2011, 16:29

            @ rob – I don’t see where David BR’s logic is strange. Seb, Lewis and Fernando are seen as quite evenly matched when on form, and Button is the best performing of their teammates by far at the moment. Jenson has more wins this year than Felipe and Mark, and is the only one with a title to his name.

    • nah, it’s just Vettel being a lot quicker than Mark, really.

    • dkfektor said on 10th September 2011, 15:47

      Vettel is young, so is still improving, while Webber has peaked. last year he was slightly faster then Webber, and made some errors. This year he has eliminated the errors and improved his skill, which comes with confidence, while webber has not improved one bit, and probably lost some confidence from being thrashed by his teammate.
      expect more from Vettel, he will be remembered as one of the best. Today he set a new record – The first ever driver to claim 10 pole positions in 2 season, a great feat as there have been many great drivers in great cars, but Vettel has put together this amazing consistency that makes him the best driver in f1 right now.

      • The car and team are geared towards Vettel because the team see him as the long term future. Webber renews his contract on a year by year basis with no real permanency / long term outlook with the team.

        From the team’s point of view it’s easy to see why they would design the car around Vettel’s preferences and driving style, because he is Red Bull’s future.

        I think Webber’s weight probably is and has always been a factor, particularly noticeable with the introduction of KERS. Vettel can play around with the balance of his car (weight distribution of ballast) to a greater extent than Webber.

        IMO, the team do want Webber to do well, but I don’t think you can completely rule out favouritism. Remember the new wing fiasco last year and the “team orders” that always seem to favour Vettel?

        • You mean like how he stayed totally quiet last year and didn’t get to drive this year? Oh, wait…

          IMO, Red Bull find Webber easy to manage and he is on the whole usually very diplomatic. He has a few little digs now and then, but he usually comes out in support of the team. If Webber left, who would the team replace him with and more importantly what effect would that have on team dynamics?

          Someone like Hamilton, for example, is not likely to come in quietly and allow Vettel to have the biggest influence on car development. IMO, this would cause major disruption to the team. Webber is quite unique in that he doesn’t have the massive ego that most drivers have, probably because he became successful when he was more mature.

          We should probably remember that Webber has been with the team for a long time, he fits in and is very much a part of Red Bull’s history and culture.

          If you have a winning formula that brings stability to a team, why change it?

      • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 10th September 2011, 21:30

        Today he set a new record – The first ever driver to claim 10 pole positions in 2 season

        Senna won 36 pole positions in three years (13,13,10).

        I’m not trying to take away from Vettel’s success, he’s scored one less pole than Hakkinen who had an equally dominant car for a couple of seasons during his career too.

    • I don’t see any reason why they would do that.
      Its not as if Vettel is fighting a close battle for the championship where each thousend of a second might make the difference between champion and lose out. They want both cars to do well, so as to secure both championships and preferrably second place for Webber as well.

      I did hear something about having to give Webber an older engine in Monza as there emerged a problem with the new one he should have got.

  10. Now FIA can start writing Vettel name on Driver championship trophy. It seems all but over as RedBull seems to be very competitive at every kind of track. McLaren & Ferrari can have few consolation wins.

  11. so with Monza gone, we’re almost sure no other than a Red Bull will secure a pole position this year.

  12. bearforce1 said on 10th September 2011, 14:27

    Wow. Vettel is super.

  13. May i point out exceptional work that LRGP & Petrov did.
    Q1: 5 laps on medium, 1.25.4 (woludn’t give hime Q2 chance). From then on he gave good series of 1 lap runs. Still in Q1 – 1.24.4, 6th, (3 minutes to the end of Q1).
    Q2: 1.23.7 (27.1, 28.3, 28.2), 8 minutes to the end of Q2 and then sits in box till the end and 9th. I watched timing – there was no one (except Mercedes) who posted sectors even close to him.
    Q3: 1.24.1 on the old tyres. And then 1.23.5 on last lap.
    In front of Shumacher on softs, Rosberg on medium and Senna, who didn’t leave the garage.

    Good luck for tomorrow.

  14. David-A (@david-a) said on 10th September 2011, 14:29

    Vettel just keeps producing pole laps, even when he isn’t expected to get on pole. Simply no other candidate for driver of the day, although Di Resta once again outdid Sutil.

  15. absolutely Vettel is super, i don,t believe how do he do all these. even if the conditions r not that favorable.

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